LESSON OBJECTIVES AND OUTLINE FOR TEACHERS
I. LESSON OBJECTIVES
A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing the cake and icing it; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:
- Measure, combine, and bring ingredients to a boil.
- Correctly use an electric mixer.
- Crack eggs into an individual cup before adding to the recipe.
- Measure quantities using measuring spoons and cups.
- Pour warm icing over a hot cake.
- Spread warm icing on a hot cake.
- Decorate the cake with a pattern made from dried fruits and nuts.
B. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of Tu B’Shevat by completing the final Sample Test.
C. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of what carob is and its origins by completing the final Sample Test.
II. KITCHEN ORGANIZATION: TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
1. This recipe has been divided for two groups to work on simultaneously. Each group starts with the numbered step where its work is indicated. Group 1 has three separate jobs to do and Group 2 has two.
2. Unless you have two mixing bowls and beaters for the mixer, the batter must be completed and the bowl and beater washed before Group 2 can finish the icing, so try to keep things moving in the preparation of the batter.
3. The baking time for this cake is relatively short (22 minutes), but the cake must be hot when it is iced, so it is suggested that you begin preparing the icing while the cake is in the oven. The entire recipe can be made during one class period and does not require advance preparation, but the cake is better when chilled in the refrigerator and if several classes will be making them, it would be best to have one ready ahead of time and let each succeeding class taste the one from the class ahead so that it will have time to chill after baking. It freezes beautifully if it is necessary to make it far in advance.
4. Each group has a clean up detail for the mess created up to that point, so almost everything should be cleaned up by the time the cake is ready to be removed from the oven.
5. If the class is very large and there are not enough jobs to go around, you may want to provide additional activities for the students.
1. Remind your students to start the mixer slowly when adding ingredients to the bowl.
2. For this particular recipe there is no need for concern if the carob powder is very lumpy. Ordinarily, it would need sifting, but because it is dissolved in hot liquid, even large lumps melt away.
3. Carob can be found in powdered form in health food stores, specialty gourmet stores, and some supermarkets and is usually grouped with hot cocoa and drink mixes because it is often used in this form as a chocolate substitute.
4. Look for a trail mix that contains the following because they create an interesting mosaic on the top of the cake and are particularly appropriate for Tu B’Shevat: candied pineapple, papaya, coconut, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, banana chips, hazelnuts, dried apricots.
III. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A. If time permits, reading aloud about the significance and origins of carob, and showing the students a whole carob pod if available, make the lesson more meaningful.
B. While it is considered a chocolate substitute by many people, it would be a good idea to stress the fact that the taste and smell of carob is unique and should be enjoyed on its own merits and not compared with other flavors.
C. A Tu B’Shevat Seder such as the one described in the lesson can make the holiday more memorable because the act of eating symbolic foods causes the holiday to leave an unforgettable impression on the mind. This cake would make an interesting dessert as a finish to a whole meal that emphasizes fruits and nuts and includes a Tu B’Shevat Seder.
MATERIALS FOR CAROB SHEET CAKE
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 lb.)
- carob powder (8 T. heaping)
- white flour (preferably unbleached) (2 c.)
- sugar (2 c.)
- commercial sour cream
- baking soda
- 2 large eggs (1 doz.)
- non-stick spray
- 1 box confectioners sugar (1 lb.)
- 1 c. milk
- vanilla extract
- trail mix (dried fruit and nut mix)
- 2 qt. saucepan
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 11" x 15" baking pan
- electric mixer
- large mixing spoons
- small bowls
- metal icing spatula or butter knife
- paper plates and/or napkins
- large sharp cake knife for slicing
- spatula or cake server for serving
- dishwashing liquid
FOR THE STUDENTS:
TU B’SHEVAT CAROB SHEET CAKE WITH CAROB ICING
“Rosh Hashanah Le'llanot—the ‘New Year of the Trees’—is a minor, but joyous, festival that is commonly known by the abbreviated form of its date on the Hebrew calendar. Thus, it is usually called Tu B’Shevat, which is short for Hamishah-Asar B’Shevat, the fifteenth day of the month Shevat.”4
The date coincides with the time of year when the sap begins to flow in the trees in Israel and the holiday is an affirmation of our pledge to share in the rebuilding of Medinat Yisrael and make the desert bloom. At Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pennsylvania, as well as at many other synagogues across the country, a Tu B’Shevat seder is conducted and is a delightful way to celebrate the importance of trees and the bounty of nature that God has provided.
The seder proceeds with a collection of readings and songs from the Bible, the Talmud and various rabbinical and poetic sources which are particularly appropriate for the occasion. Interspersed with these readings are symbolic tastings of fruits, nuts, and wines. The tastings begin with a pure white wine (or white grape juice) which symbolizes winter and the dormant stage of nature. This is followed by a tasting of fruits or nuts with an inedible outer shell or rind, such as almonds, which represent the physical being as a soul covered by the body. The next wine or juice is white tinged with red to symbolize the beginning of springtime and the earth’s reawakening. This is followed by the sampling of fruits with inedible inner pits, such as dates. These represent the heart protected by the body. The tamar, or date palm, has a further symbolism. In Bereshit Rabbah 41, the rabbis compared Israel to a date palm because it is a tree of which every part is useful. The third cup of wine is red with some white to represent the full arrival of spring. This is followed by a fruit that has both inner seeds and a hard outer skin, such as carob. The symbolism here is from Genesis 1:9-13 which reads: And God said, “let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit trees yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth,” and it was so. This may be followed by the tasting of wheat in the form of cake, bread, or cookies. The Torah characterizes Israel as being blessed with seven varieties of produce: “A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olives and honey.” (Deut. 8: 8) The fourth cup of wine is completely red, symbolizing the full glow of summer. The fourth fruit is one which can be eaten in its entirety, such as raisins, and represents the highest form of spirituality. There is no rigidity to the exact form that the seder must take and it is left to the ingenuity and erudition of each congregation to select those songs and readings which it finds most meaningful and symbolic.
In Israel, the holiday is always marked by the planting of trees. Schoolchildren are taken on field trips especially for the purpose of planting trees, and great importance is placed on this simple act for many reasons. The pledge to make the desert bloom is part of the overwhelming desire to ensure a rich life in the “land of milk and honey.” In recent times, the burning of forests by enemies of Israel has strengthened the resolve to maintain and beautify the land to assure our continued presence there. In the Diaspora, the concern of Jews for the land of Israel is expressed through the purchase of tree certificates from the Jewish National Fund. A certificate is purchased which indicates that a tree has been planted in memory of or in honor of someone. In addition to the planting of trees, these monies are used to maintain existing forest.
“Carob pods come from an evergreen tree which is indigenous to the Mediterranean area but also found in many other parts of the world. The dried pods are usually 6- to 7-inches long and about 1-inch wide, and are flat and leathery looking. They are sweet and very chewy, with a flavor vaguely similar to chocolate… Carob became particularly traditional on Tu B’Shevat for Jews in Eastern European shtetls because it was one of the few ‘fruits’ from Israel that was available during mid-winter…”5
CAROB SHEET CAKE WITH CAROB ICING
- 1 c. unsalted butter - 2 sticks
- 1 c. water
- 4 heaping T. carob powder
- 2 c. flour, preferably unbleached
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 c. commercial sour cream
- 1 t. baking soda
- 2 eggs
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1/2 c. or 1 stick unsalted butter
- 6 T. milk
- 4 T. carob powder (level)
- 1 lb. confectioners sugar (1 box)
- 1 t. vanilla
- trail mix (dried fruit and nut mix)
1. Combine butter, water and carob powder in a 2-qt. saucepan and bring to boiling on medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Give to Group 2.
2. Spray an 11" x 15" baking pan with non-stick spray.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Add sour cream, baking soda, and eggs to mixture and mix until blended.
7. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees for 22 minutes.
8. Clean up except for measuring spoons and 2 qt. saucepan.
9. Combine butter, milk, and carob powder in same 2 qt. saucepan.
10. Heat to boiling on medium to high heat, stirring until mixture bubbles.
11. Empty box of confectioners sugar into mixing bowl.
12. Pour hot carob mixture over and add vanilla.
13. Beat on medium speed until icing is smooth.
14. Clean up.
15. Pour icing over hot cake.
16. Decorate the top with a pattern made from dried fruits and nuts selected from the trail mix.
17. Cool for a few minutes and refrigerate.
This cake can be cut up into squares and then frozen in trays to use at a later time.
Be sure to unwrap the top before defrosting so that the icing doesn't stick to the wrapper.
4Text from Gloria Kaufer Greene, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook: An International Collection of Recipes and Customs (Published in the United States by Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, 1985), p. 185.
5Text from Gloria Kaufer Greene, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook: An International Collection of Recipes and Customs (Published in the United States by Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, 1985), p. 195.